en: Growing Pains (Dinosaur Pile-Up album) [info]
Rock trio Dinosaur Pile-Up have followed-up 2009's The Most Powerful EP In the Universe! with a debut album which drifts by, seemingly fine with dispensing individuality for huge, blazing guitars and grunge-encrusted melodies. This works solidly for opener and single Birds & Planes, where the riffed chord sequences echo the vocal, binding the two inextricably in your head. It might as well define the statement of intent.
At this point subtlety seems to have been pushed aside roughly for the most direct, simplistic and playful tunes to be driven home with force. Unfortunately this force is quickly dissipated over the album's run time; not because the songs lose momentum but because rapid desensitisation numbs any initial excitement. Broken Knee shifts the dynamics slightly with harmonies wrapping the chugging verses, although these harmonies continue into the chorus unbroken and relatively unchanged. One token-sounding acoustic number begins maudlin enough but, in this case, its simplicity is endearing, and delightfully spurts into a full-band crescendo that, though predictable, is a suave lead-in to the final track.
Though each of these songs has a potentially addictive hook, it's very wearing to hear the whole lot in one huge slab of deja vu rock. The first half erodes a lot of goodwill towards the second, which is generally more refreshing and compositionally superior with all sorts of musical punctuation used in favour of the all-out assault. Traynor is where the band seems to hit their stride, recalling the pressure build-up and resultant explosions they displayed on their most-recent EP.
It's not enough to shed the feeling that there's little here that hasn't been explored and exhausted elsewhere. There's not much wrong with wanting to wear influences on sleeves or indulge in a sound that draws the best from each member's abilities within songwriting and performance. It is a shame, however, that Dinosaur Pile-Up see fit to undermine their efforts by stripping individuality away and searing their personality on an intensity that isn't necessarily always required, at least for the songs on offer here.
- - -